Wealth Transfer Planning

Virtually all cultures have a version of the American proverb “shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations”. This saying stands for the proposition that most inherited wealth will dissipate by the end of the third generation from which it was created. It is premised on the notion that the First generation comes from a life of hardship, is determined to make a better life for themselves and their family, and works hard and makes many sacrifices to do so. The next generation grows up a witness to their parent’s struggle and learns to respect and understands the importance of hard work and sacrifice. While they may enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle, they may still remember a childhood filled with frugality. The Third Generation though has no memory of want or struggle. They only know a life of plenty and often lack an understanding and appreciation for the work and sacrifice that went into creating the lifestyle they now enjoy.

According to data collected from 3,250 families who had lost their fortunes, less than 3% said that poor planning and bad investing caused the reversal of their fortune. 25% said that the heirs were unprepared, and 60% sighted lack of communication and trust in the family as the culprit. The consequences of neglecting to prepare the heirs intellectually for their inheritance can be seen in some of the most prominent families. An often sited example is the William Henry Vanderbilt family. The Vanderbilt fortune could be worth over $300 billion in today’s dollars. But by 1973, in just two generations, not a single heir was even a millionaire.

Wealth Transfer Planning adds another dimension to traditional Estate and Trust planning. It focuses on preserving the family fortune by helping prepare the younger members of the family to receive the wealth they will someday inherit. It looks to groom the next generations to be good stewards of not only the family economic wealth but of the family legacy as well. Wealth Transfer Planning indoctrinates the younger generations into the family attitudes towards money, and the social and family responsibilities that come along it. Developing harmony and unity within the family with respect to financial stewardship is a big part of Wealth Transfer Planning.

At Casey Law Group, we partner with you and your collaborative advisors to prepare the younger family members to step into the role for which they are destined. Contact us or give us a call. We welcome the opportunity to explain further how this works.